Business School Rankings: For Better or Worse?

Editorial Consultant to Times Higher Education and The Wall Street Journal, Matt Symonds discusses the pros and cons of business school rankings.


Matt Symonds: [00:21] Rankings are a very crude measure for what is a very complex and sophisticated experience. It gives you this limited snapshot for a particular class. It overemphasizes who's number 1, who's number 2, who's number 24, who's number 25. People can get lost in those positions.

[00:39] Rankings tend to compare apples and oranges. We already see with the MBA that the real differences between a one and a two year program are too influential, distort the mission of a business school. There's quite a long list. They have their limitations. Any ranking needs to be humble in what it tries to measure.

[01:00] That said, the first business school rankings that started 30 years ago, they have been of enormous benefit to business schools in terms of the visibility that they have provided for business education. Of course, for applicants they provide a very helpful point of comparison bringing together those data sets.

[01:23] Again, looking beyond number 1, 2, and 3, and really diving into the sort of data and feedback that rankings were able to capture. They justify a significant investment. It's very reassuring for people to understand the sort of return on investment that they could then look forward to.

[01:42] I'd like to think that it raises the bar for the schools and for the industry as a whole. I think they'll be here to stay.

Filmed February 2018 on site at AACSB's annual Deans Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.